Release Date: 24th June 2011
Age Rating: 18+
Length: ~20 Hours
Links: Official Website, VNDB
After running away from their home, the two Kasugai siblings (older brother Yuma & his sister Sakura) have ended up on the cold streets of Tokyo during the midst of winter. Each and every day is a struggle for survival but neither regret their decision to end up here. However, one night amongst the falling snow they see an otherwordly scene – falling cherry blossom petals. Following these and they end up in in Sakuno – a city overshadowed by a colossal cherry blossom tree and populated by “liars”…
Propeller are a company that primarily produce chuuni-ge filled with dramatic battles and superhuman powers. However, they have also released a small handful of more standard charage and given how much I enjoyed きっと、澄みわたる朝色よりも、there should be no surprise that I wanted to try out the other games produced in this genre by them.
If I had to describe Sukima in one phrase it would be 妹ゲー so if you aren’t a fan of the younger sister archetype in the first place this probably isn’t the title for you. That being said, I actually enjoyed this aspect of the game, particularly Sakura’s route. It’s established early in the game that the siblings are close due to their past experiences and their relationship is enjoyable to watch.
One of the main selling points of this game is its unique setting and it was indeed beautiful – think Tokyo but make it more aesthetic. The main feeling I got from the town of Sakuno is that it was a gentle, relaxing place and the game created a comfy atmosphere to match. Much of the story takes place in the Sakura-sou dorms and involves the daily lives of the quirky characters that live there. Overall, I really enjoyed the common route and thought that it set the story up well. The plot twist towards the end of the common route was also incredibly clever.
Considering I mentioned the genre of this game, it only makes sense to introduce Sakura first. She’s more of a tsundere-type imouto and can be a little blunt at times. However, when she shows her softer side she’s utterly adorable. A top-tier imouto. Her and Yuma’s past is pretty well-developed and explained throughout the game which gives a good base for their current relationship and explains why the pair rely on each other a lot. Sakura’s route was very enjoyable and would be the one reason why I recommend this game.
Kaju is the designated cook of the dorm and is a kind, if a little clumsy onee-chan type of heroine. She has no memories of her life prior to coming to Sakuno so, as you’d imagine, that is the crux of her route. Whilst a little predictable, Kaju’s route was pretty solid and she herself was pretty likable.
Chiyoko, or Choko as she prefers to be called, can be summed up in one word – eccentric. However, this doesn’t really describe just how hyper, over-the-top and dramatic her personality is – you really need to see it to believe it. When I read that her route was written by Watanabe Ryouichi it all suddenly clicked into place and she definitely feels like one of his heroines. Her route, however, was definitely not one of his best pieces of writing and felt very flat. Honestly skip this route if you play this game.
Rin is the mysterious girl who appears occasionally throughout the story and is actually the holder of the game’s true route. As a character, she’s actually quite cute but her route is such a wild change of direction from the rest of the game that it felt as though it should be in a different title. Even overlooking this, the last scene of her route ruined the whole thing for me. Unfortunate.
Continuing the theme of slightly odd characters, the side characters were also pretty memorable. My favourite was the adorable teacher/dorm manager Nene – the fact she didn’t get a route is super unfair!
As long as you can get over the lack of noses (lol) the artwork from Refeia was pretty nice, with there being a good number of CGs per heroine. Yes, there’s plenty of cherry blossoms in the backround of many of these for aesthetic purposes.
An area where Sukima excelled was in the music department, with both the BGM and vocal songs being extremely high quality. I particularly enjoyed the opening song & the title BGM track “桜乃 -City of fairy tale-“.
My Score: 7/10
Essentially Sukima has a solid foundation with its intriguing setting and colourful cast of characters. However, it begins to fall short when it over-complicates the “true” story behind the game.
That being said, Sakura is the main draw for this game, with her route and character design both being very good. Kaju’s route is also worth your time. Let’s just agree not to mention Choko again.
Overall, I’m kind of sad that Propeller haven’t really made any more non-chuuni games, although maybe this is a sign that I should give those a try…
Thanks for reading!